There’s something so romantic and nostalgic about sleeping under a canopy roof.
The whistle of a breeze, the chill mountain air as you step outside for that first cup of coffee in the morning—it all feels amplified when you’re doing it from a tent-style shelter.
Yurts give you the joy that comes from that camping experience with all the comforts of home.
They’re an affordable and easy-to-set-up option for anyone who wants a great vacation home, delightful little house or spare space on their property.
We’ve put together a list of the top 5 best yurt kits available, including classic manufacturers and those innovating the market.
Overall Best Yurt Kit: Freedom Yurt Cabins
- Designed from the ground up for permanent dwelling
- Made from stronger, longer lasting materials than traditional yurts
- Comes standard with all the ‘extras’ needed to live comfortably in a yurt
- Includes an integrated platform system
Other Great Options We Review Below
- Pacific Yurts
- Rainier Outdoor Yurts
- California Round House
- Shelter Yurts
The History of the Yurt
For thousands of years nomadic groups in the steppes region of Central Asia have traveled with temporary shelters called Ger. These rounded structures used an interior framework of worked wood that supported an outer protective layer of animal hide or cloth.
They were designed to be easy to set up and take down, as well as provide effective protection against the elements. The yurt as we know it today was adapted from these Ger in the 1960s and really came into their own starting in the 1970s.
They combined the traditional craftsmanship and design of the steppe Ger with modern materials and manufacturing techniques. The result was an easy-to-assemble shelter that was durable, lightweight, and provided excellent protection from the elements. To learn more about the history of yurts, click here!
Picking out the best yurt for your needs depends on a lot of variables. The most important thing to consider in choosing a yurt kit is how and where you intend to use it.
If you’re looking for a vacation cabin or other temporary shelter, you’ll need a lot fewer features and amenities than you would in a permanent home. Likewise, yurts being used in temperate regions will need far less insulation, buttressing, and other weather-resistant features.
The first thing to decide on is how big you need your yurt to be—9’-12’ is about as small as a yurt goes. These offer 60-120 sq. ft and are really only suitable for single room use, such as a vacation cabin or secondary shelter on your property. Subdividing that small a space gives you a very cramped feeling.
From there, yurts can be just about as large as you like. 25’ to 30’ is usually what we’d recommend for a single person or a couple. That’s large enough to give you a bedroom, bathroom and combined kitchen/living area. It’s larger than most tiny houses for sure.
Yurt Insulation and Snow Rating
Next you should consider the climate you’re going to set your yurt up in. If you’re expecting very cold temperatures and heavy snow, your yurt has to be reinforced and insulated.
For the vast majority of manufacturers, yurt insulation is considered an extra feature and adds to the price. Same for the snow reinforcing. You should also think about things like high winds or gutters if you live in a storm prone or especially wet climate.
Yurt Platform or Yurt Foundation
Yurts may look like tents but they require a specific type of platform or foundation to work. Make sure you check what is included in the yurt kit you’re considering. Some come with a platform standard while others either only offer it as an option or don’t sell yurt platforms at all.
Most of the time you’ll need to hire a local contractor to pour concrete for a foundation or assemble a custom wooden platform.
Yurt Electricity and Plumbing
The bulk of yurt kits don’t include any plans or equipment for wiring or plumbing your yurt. There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part, you’re going to have to figure it out on your own.
The most common way people wire yurts is through the platform it rests on. You can run electrical conduit up into your yurt and install outlets throughout the walls or as flush outlets on the platform floor.
Here’s a great video that explains how this works.
How you wire your yurt really depends on your goals. You can always go with standard grid connections, but if you’re like me you, like the idea of being totally self-sufficient.
The most common way to do this is with a solar panel system. If you think this is the way to go, check out how easy it is to set up a solar panel system in our post here, decide on high-quality flexible solar panels, and pick out some excellent solar generator options if you want a plug-and-play setup.
For plumbing, it gets a little more complicated. You can, of course, go with a standard sewer/septic tank system, but if you’re out in the backcountry, this isn’t always available.
Wells are the most often used off-grid water solution, but a rainwater catchment system is also a great option. These can be plumbed right into your home without any problem.
Best Yurt Kits
Choosing the number one yurt kit was really hard, but in the end, Freedom Yurt Cabins won out. They manufacture yurts with the future in mind. Instead of fabric panels wrapped around a wooden lattice system, Freedom Yurts uses insulated wooden panels.
This automatically makes their yurts warmer, stronger, and longer lasting than most other manufacturers. And they don’t stop with just insulated walls and ceilings. Instead, their wooden yurts have a built-in platform system, double pane windows, and a 360° dome lifter to maximize natural lighting.
Because they include the platform system, a group of 2-4 people can actually fully assemble a Freedom yurt in just 3 to 5 days. Other manufacturers quote shorter numbers but don’t include the platform construction in their estimate.
They offer four different models, the Freedom 16.5’, 19.5’, 22’, and 25’.
Pricewise they start at $17,300 for the 16.5′ and go up to $27,900 for the 25′.
This is significantly more than many similar yurts, but competitive when you consider all the ‘extras’ they include as standard.
- Built-in wooden platform for easy assembly anywhere
- Wooden wall panels are insulated and far sturdier than fabric ones
- Uses all double pane windows that prevent energy transfer
- Comes standard with a wind and snow package rated for winds up to 120 mph
- Includes a 360° dome lifter
- Base models noticeably more expensive than similarly sized yurts
Pacific Yurts is one of the oldest and best known yurt manufacturers in the world. They’ve been making high quality yurts since 1978 and offer one of the widest selections of yurt styles, colors, and options available.
They offer six different sizes of yurt, 12’, 14’, 16’, 20’, 24’, and 30’. Their yurts are made in the traditional way using a wood lattice wall covered with an acrylic coated polyester. This makes Pacific Yurts lightweight and easy to assemble.
A clear acrylic skylight and zip open fabric windows are included standard with lots of really cool options like insulation, curved glass windows, and stove flashing available for an additional fee.
Because Pacific Yurts has been in business so long you really know what you’re buying. Their yurts have been used all over the country and are commonly found at state parks, campsites, and other recreation areas.
Pricewise they start at $5,655 for the smallest model and go up to $11,895 for the largest. These are for the base models of course, with add-ons and extras quickly raising the price.
- Decades of experience in the yurt industry
- Thousands of yurts in the wild for you to check out
- Made from quality and weather resistant materials
- Widely available and easy to assemble
- Tons of extras and upgrades available, making Pacific Yurts highly customizable
- Very reasonably priced
- Base models are very basic
- Require a fixed wooden or concrete foundation
Rainier Outdoor is a respected manufacturer of yurts, wall tents, tipis, and cottages. They offer two yurt products, the Eagle yurt and the Raven yurt, that offer a lot of really cool features.
The Raven is designed to be the perfect value yurt. It uses quality materials but without any of the extra frills and features you see on many other yurts. The base price for a 16’ Raven yurt is $7,426 while the 30’ is $13,358.
The Eagle was conceived as a luxury yurt at an affordable price. It’s available from 16’ up to 33’ in size and is made using premium materials. It comes standard with two tone fabric walls and a modular wall system that makes reconfiguring your yurt easy.
It’s made with thicker than average lattice wood and offers a ring rafter system that helps improve wind and snow resistance. As with most of the companies on our list, you can choose from a variety of add ons beyond the basic yurt package.
- Offers a basic and more luxurious model
- 7’4” wall height gives you extra head room, including the potential for a loft
- Basic models competitively priced while still allowing substantial customization
- Made from durable, long-lasting materials to a modular design
- Base model doesn’t include snow or wind resistance
California Round House is a different kind of animal compared to most other yurt companies on this list. Instead of making yurt kits you can order and assemble, they offer custom yurt style homes made using wood and other modern building materials.
You get the same living space and general dimensions of a yurt, only built to standard building code by expert contractors. They’re based in Ukiah, California and can make everything from darling tiny home style yurts to luxurious yurt-based mansions with multiple levels, greenhouses, and integrated wine storage.
Check out this video for a cool example of one of their tiny home style permanent yurts.
As you can see from that video, these aren’t your standard lattice and fabric yurts.
The benefits of this are that you can have exactly what you want built by experts. The downsides are that it isn’t always that much less expensive than building a regular home.
- Endlessly customizable
- Made from durable modern building materials
- Full service design and contracting services including permitting
- Able to stand up to strong storms and heavy snow loads
- Substantially more expensive than similarly sized yurts
- Not truly yurt style tents
Shelter Designs is a traditional fabric and lattice yurt maker with the goal of creating the most eco friendly yurts. They offer two different models, the Eco-Yurt and the Big Sky value priced version.
The Eco-Yurt is made using locally sourced materials like Lodge Pole pine, and designed with as many natural materials as possible. It’s available in a range of sizes starting at 12’ and going up to 30’. Pricing starts at $6,650 and goes up to $14,950 for the base models.
The Big Sky yurt is designed to be a high-quality yurt at a great price. It includes the most in-demand features in the basic package and is available starting at 12’ and going all the way up to a very large 40’ yurt.
You can choose from a wide variety of customization options and upgrades including double pane glass, additional windows, and insulation kits. This allows you to match your yurt to your needs and budget.
- Highly customizable and made from eco friendly materials
- Available in a massive 40’ size
- Fiberglass insulated doors come standard
- Regular and arctic insulation available for really cold climates
- Extra features rapidly increase the price
Yurt vs Tiny Home – Which is Best for Me?
There are many differences between them. You’ve likely seen a lot of information about tiny houses but not as much about yurt living. Yurts are honestly very popular in some parts of the world and have been used, in variations, for centuries.
The biggest difference that hits you in the face is that yurts are round. There’s no getting around that. This bothers some people but if you can get beyond the fact that you’ll not have straight walls, a yurt can be quite comfortable. They are highly warm with insulated walls. Having a wood stove inside a yurt is not just possible, it’s normal. It’s easy to keep them warm with wood heat. This appeals to many people who wish to live off-grid.
Yurts are not made to put up and take down easily, however. If you’ve gotten a bad case of wanderlust, then wheels underneath you and a tiny house around you would likely suit you best? Tiny houses are smaller than a yurt, but offer you the ability to move around, travel, and have the feeling of a permanent home, which you may not feel while living in a yurt.